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Nikon Coolpix S3
Nikon Coolpix S3

Hey! You should know that this product has been discontinued. Here are our current recommended cameras in the Ultra Compact Digital Cameras category.

Nikon Coolpix S3

We've given the S3 a grade of C.

Editor's Review

More than just a pretty face, the Nikon S3 has a lot to offer the substance conscious photographer who likes to have some fun. The Nikon Coolpix S3 is the kind of ultracompact that can give you what you need in a camera and also make your friends jealous. The tiny profile and feather weight make it perfect for situations where you want to have a camera on you, but not look like you have a camera on you. The 6 megapixel shooter slides into your pocket unobtrusively, ready to snap away at a moment's notice. The Coolpix S3 is available in the always stylish colors of ivory white, matte black, and platinum silver.


  • 6 megapixels
  • 3x optical zoom / 4x digital zoom
  • 1 EN-EL8 rechargeable battery
  • Part Number: nikcoolpixs3k1
  • UPC: 018208255375
  • Release Date: Sep 06, 2005

Shop for S3 Accessories

Nikon Coolpix S3 Reviews

Nikon Coolpix S3 Reviews by Digital Camera-HQ Users

  • 4.0 out of 5
dont be decieved by what others say. . . very good camera! (ryan — 01/23/2008)

reading on the reviews of others, i nearly believed that this xcamera sucks. . but the moment i got hold of it, it proved them wrong. poor quality to some is already good for others (and that includes me). .im also particular about picture quality. .this camera produces very good if not good quality prints. .i love taking pictures of my family and friends, and this camera satiates my desire for it! really, im telling you, i dont work for nikon but i think it's unfair to give it a very negative rating when it's really a good gadget for everyday use. reports of broken cameras on first use is a very remote case. .it happens to all. .i love this camera!

  • 2.0 out of 5
Coolpix S3 - poor autofocus (Matt Grant — 04/05/2007)

I have had many cameras and my main one is a Canon EOS10D DSLR. I bought the S3 for normal day to day use and new Nikon to have a good reputation.

Unfortunately I am not impressed with this camera. The autofocus is poor. It simply won't focus 9 out of 10 times (by which time you've missed the shot). It doesn't matter how far or close to the subject you seem to be, it still can't do it. After a few failled attempts it will display a message saying "Initializing lens - Cannot focus"

  • 3.0 out of 5
after one Year and more then 1000 photos (Adel Abadir — 01/18/2007)

Good, but unexpected damage , i lost all the icons in the menu , so i sent the camera to the Agent and they have to reinstall the software
Also i did not like the photo quality without Flash , comparing with Sony,, i thought Nikon was the best but i think when going to digital i prefer Sony

  • 4.0 out of 5
raghu (raghu — 12/22/2006)

good and decent camera.can take any where.but limited in manual settings.u got to use tripod with low light.battery runs upto 140 great snaps and increasing interest on photography.

  • 2.0 out of 5
always blurry = bad (christina — 11/28/2006)

although it has many functions, i find that whenever i take a picture with out flash it always comes out blurry. i personally dont like using flash, so that was a big disadvantage on the camera's part. in addition, when taking night pictures, unless you are standing like a status, the picture will most likely never turn out perfect - it'll always be blurry.

  • 1.0 out of 5
Disappointed! (Sally — 11/26/2006)

I bought this camera when it first came onto the market based on the impressive reviews of its predecessor the S1. I originally had a Olympus Mju 300 which I cannot say enough great things about, but when I lost it, and realised they didn't produce it anymore, went for the Nikon S3. I am extremely disappointed by this cameras performance, indoor photos are appalling. At first I thought this maybe because I was using i on the wrong setting but hundreds of photos later I still only have a handful of mediocre photos! Really not acceptable! I would advise anyone looking at purchasing this camera to buy an olympus instead!!

  • 4.0 out of 5
Good for Biginners (satyadev — 11/26/2006)

Light and handy with easy to use menu . Picture quality is good for o/doors.

  • 4.0 out of 5
good featured!-(Meet R. Garvalia) (Meet Garvalia — 10/20/2006)

Camera is equipped with userfriendly features.
It has true value for money.
It's low light performance is poor.
Lens and flash distance is very small and hence, especially in AUTO mode(1x zoom), low light conditions shots create clear artifacts (due to stray light from flash).
Overall, good camera for begineers.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Nikon it is! (Lune — 10/17/2006)

At first I wanted to buy Sony W50. But when I come to the store, I realize how Nikon cameras is really better. I finally decided to buy S3 besides of the stylish and compact design, it has great features inside. The price is competitive with Sony, and I like it more because I can use whether SD card or MMC, which MMC is much cheaper with bigger memory.

Images taken from Sony cameras might look better in LCDs, but when it comes to be printed, Nikon is better, in color and sharpness.

One more thing I love from S3: it can go underwater! Yes! Of course you have to use the Nikon underwater transparent case, but compared to S5 and S6, they don't have this feature. S3 rocks!

  • 1.0 out of 5
worst focus and shooting speed (Alex — 10/06/2006)

The camera has focusing problems, if you are shooting without the flash.

With the flash it takes up to 4 seconds to take a picture too long sorry and still every other picture is out of focus.

It has very bad color tunes, every picture is defferent, auto white balance can't seem to find its home, always up and down.

Durable camera though, never craked the screen even when I sat on it, took it every where with me
even snow boarding in heavy snow

  • 1.0 out of 5
Don't Buy (Burton — 09/04/2006)

Looks great but photo quality sucks especially indoor pictures. Tried many different modes to try to improve indoor picture quality but to no avail. Thought Nikon makes good cameras but this will be my first and last Nikon. I am going to trade this in for Sony T10. I've had enough of this camera.

  • 4.0 out of 5
Handy & Handsome Camera.... (Chatpong — 08/16/2006)

Okey, I admitted just like others who were disappointed in buying the S3, that it offers lack of useful features like AF focus marks that all Canon offers or primary data like F.number and S.speed display which Sony gives. Picture quality might not be as good as what normally Nikon produces.

However, please do not forget that similar type of camera would be as good or bad as the S3 also. Do not compare S3 with bigger camera like Canon A and Ixus series, Nikon 5000 series to 8000 series or whatever specially not the DSLR type, and you will find it great and easy-handy.

I normally use DSLR Canon 20D or the prosumer type such as coolpix 5700 for more serious picture taking. The S3, I actually bought to replace my Nokia phone camera since it is very small, easy, handy, handsome and of course offer a real digital pitures comparing to my Nokia phone on the ordinally day since lots of time my work would require some photo taking. So for me, this is good enough. Not best, but great.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Great First Digital (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

As some one who has plenty of experience selling many digital cameras (but never owning one) I went with Nikon because of excellent reputation of Nikon lenses, coupled with my great experience with their 35mm SLRs. I have not had one disappointment in this camera.

When you know what you're doing, this is an excellent camera. The layout of the camera controls is excellent, making it very comfortable to shoot with one hand on the right (and thereby keeping thumbs away from the lens located on the left side of the camera).

I've used various Digital SLRs as well, and this camera can take pics that can almost rival those of the Nikon and Canon variety SLRs.

No P&S digital will ever be as fast as an SLR, but I rarely miss a shot with this one. Learn to anticipate a shot, and this camera can keep up with you. Practice certain energy saving tricks, and the included battery can last longer than intended as well.

Overall, I am extremely satisfied with this camera.

  • 3.0 out of 5
Not pleased (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

It is an okay camera, but not as good as the equivalent canons. took the camera on a trip to costa rica and it has a significantly worse autofocus compared to the Canon powershots (or whatever the equivalent Canons are). it does not tell you on the LCD screen what it is trying to focus on (like the Canon does) and will often miss the target of the screen. it screwed up at least 10 one-of-a-kind shots of various animals we saw which was frustrating. I would not buy this camera again.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Outstanding (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

I'm a semi-professional who owns a Canon 30D with 6 different lens but I needed a point and shoot camera I could carry ALL the time. After extensive research I decided on this one because of it's small size, loads of features, such as the closeup mode, backlighting assist etc. that once you get accustomed to using can definitely result in some outstanding photos. Outstanding small point and shoot camera!!!!!

  • 5.0 out of 5
takes great pictures (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

I have used my Nikon S-3 on a daily basis and have found that the more you experiment with your camera, the more things you will find that are interesting about the features. Have been very happy with my camera, the best investment I have made in a while. Keep up the good work Nikon .Good kudos

  • 4.0 out of 5
pretty good !! (Garvalia Rajesh — 05/11/2006)

I am fully satisfied with this slim camera performance. It produces chirps images with true color representation in ambient conditions. It is rich in feature. However, its low light performance is not up to the mark ( produces artifacts in low light conditions may be due to image sensor constraints (dark noise!) or aberrations in optical assembly !)

  • 5.0 out of 5
I REALLY IT (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

I just got my S3 and I am very impressed with the flash especially. It is not over powering like the Sony I have been using. Has many good features that I really like. I'll write back in a year with an update.

  • 4.0 out of 5
Okay so far (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

So far so good. I was a little taken back by the delay but found out it was because I had the red eye flash on.

I have noticed that indoor shots are not so great but I just got the camera so I have to play around a bit. The ones I have taken outdoors are fabulous.

I was debating whether or not I should get the Canon 450 and was told by many different 'camera' people that this was a great camera....we will see.

  • 1.0 out of 5
Worst camera ever owned (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

More than 50% of the time will NOT focus correctly. Most shots blurred. LCD useless in bright sun. No optical viewfinder. Zoom unsatisfactory. Lens is located right where I would place my finger on another camera. Too much yellow in some shots. Store, Ritz Camera, will not stand by the product one iota - always my fault.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Just love it (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

Not many digital cameras which have a combination of beautiful look, excellent in design and features with reasonable price. You can find it all in this Nikon Coolpix S3. I just love it.

  • 3.0 out of 5
takes fairly good pictures (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

Had the opportunity to use it for my daughters wedding last week and was kinda pleased with the results and also liked the video clips tho' had to depend on the videographer's light to shoot.

  • 5.0 out of 5
ROUND 2 (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

This really is a review of the reviews. My review "Handy and Dandy" obviously makes reference to matters not discussed by your other reviewers, so I'm not sure how it got included on this site.

The rumor in reference (not included in these reviews, nor is the reference to the NASA "engineer") was to the effect that Nikon is going bankrupt, which isn't the case, nor is it likely to be.

Again, I say this takes pictures as good as my SLR Nikon with a $700 lens, with a lot less fuss.

The one-star rater, here, should be instructed to take his thumb away from the lens; and, his review should be removed. Either a), he got a lemon (all products are vulnerable in that department) and was too stupid to return it; or b), he doesn't know how to use a camera, or 3) perhaps he has a special grudge against Nikon (?).

  • 5.0 out of 5
Love this compact and light camera (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

The Nikon replaced A sony camera i had and i have to say the Nikon is much better. Not that the sony was bad, its just the Nikon is that much better

  • 1.0 out of 5
Terrible Camera, Terrible Service (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

Nearly all indoor shots suffer from lens flare that makes them unusable. Any shots that have anything except direct front lit simple light have terrible lens flare.
About 1 in 10 images under 'normal' conditions are usable. Combine that with how often you capture what you intended and you aren't keeping many photos.
The autofocus on the unit is poor at best. Image noise is high.
The response from Nikon on these issues is that it is "normal" for this camera.

My suggestion is to steer clear of this terrible product.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Handy and Dandy (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

This takes excellent pictures in all modes (interesting is the fact that one user review (on another site) says the flash is too bright, while a review here says it isn't bright enough . . . well, I guess the camera was made only for the ambient who can take a step forward or backward.)

The "engineer" (see the only bad review, above) is slightly off his rocker - it is reasonable to assume that his knowledge of engineering (it's NASA that must be the outfit on the verge of bankruptcy) and his understanding of cameras is about as reliable as his command of the mother tongue. Pay no heed to illiterates.

The "Truth Or Fiction" Website has no record of even the rumor. Google (verb) "rumor of pending bankruptcies" and you'll find hundreds, if not thousands, of entries. Rumor-mongering is an industry all by itself and it will NEVER go into bankruptcy.

The camera is excellent. (There are conditions that no camera can overcome - I've been using the best 35mm SLR's for over 40 years, and they all have drawbacks of one kind or another.) The accessories, like all accessories are expensive.

The battery-life for the one included with the S3 is quite short, but auto can eat up a lot of it, as can using zoom and flash extensively. A good investment is an extra-life battery and a fast charger (as opposed to the one supplied with the camera).

Shop wisely. A purchase directly from Nikon is not recommended.

  • 4.0 out of 5
Takes great pictures (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

Only downside so far has been the flash...even taking indoor photos with incandescent lights on the pictures need a fair amount of computer enhancement to lighten prior to printing unless the photo is taken at a very close distance. Much better results with our Fugi digital at dusk...

  • 5.0 out of 5
a definite buying for beginners! (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

S3 is an excellent digicam with everything buyers need blended into one.. the metallic body is nice to touch and compact to carry along.. the battery life is sufficient for a short 2,3 day journey.. and most importantly the functions make it stand out from the rest!!

  • 5.0 out of 5
Camera looks and works excellent!!!!!!!!!! (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

This camera takes pictures as good as it looks. The photo quality is better in low than the hp funshare is in high(i own both). This camera is truly the best 400.00 dollars i have spent!